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Probation for First-Time Felony Drug PossessionIllinois defendants suspected of possessing illegal drugs can face felony charges, even if it is a first offense. In Illinois, it is a felony to possess at least:

  • 15 grams of cocaine, heroin, LSD or morphine;
  • 30 grams of ketamine, methaqualone, pentazocine or phencyclidine; or
  • 200 grams of amphetamines, barbituric acid or peyote.

The lowest level felony charge for possession of these drugs is class 1, which may result in 4 to 15 years in prison and as much as $25,000 in fines. However, Illinois offers a special form of probation for first-time felony drug offenders. With this probation, you can avoid the harshest penalties of a felony drug conviction.

410 Probation

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Victim Consent Not Need for Domestic Violence ChargesVictims in fictional crime dramas will sometimes say “I don't want to press charges.” While this can have a dramatic effect in a television show, it is not how the real world works. In criminal cases, it is the prosecutor who chooses whether to press charges against a suspect, based on factors such as:

  • Application of the law;
  • Available evidence; and
  • Cooperation from witnesses.

The alleged victim's cooperation is often crucial in a successful prosecution of a suspect. If the alleged victim is uncooperative, the prosecutor may decide against pressing charges. However, the prosecutor may pursue charges despite the alleged victim's wishes, particularly in cases of domestic violence.

Criminal Charges

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When Your Employer Accuses You of a CrimeIt is frightening to be accused of committing a crime. When it is your employer making the allegation, you are particularly worried about whether you will:

  • Lose your job;
  • Face criminal charges; and
  • Be unable to continue your career.

Employers can accuse you of serious offenses, such as theft, drug use or assaulting another employee. However, your employer is not a legal authority, and workplace allegations are not the same as criminal charges. As an employee, you have a right to defend yourself against criminal accusations in order to save your job, or at least your reputation.

Right to Review

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Error in Jury Instructions Leads to RetrialA simple matter of semantics can greatly impact the outcome of a trial. Such was the case in a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision, which remanded a criminal case for retrial due to an error in the instructions given to the jury. The decision recognized that the possibility of jury bias is enough reason to question the outcome of a trial, especially when both sides present compelling cases. The court said it must err on the side of caution to ensure that a defendant receives a fair trial.

The Case

The People of the State of Illinois v. Montana Sebby concerned a man charged with resisting a peace officer, which is a class 4 felony. A jury found the defendant guilty of the charge, and the court sentenced him to two years in prison. The defense appealed the decision, citing court error in its instructions to the jury. When questioning potential jurors, a trial court is required to inform them of the standards of innocence applied to the defendant. Illinois calls these the Zehr Principles, named after a 1984 Illinois Supreme Court case. They include that:

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Carelessness Can Cause Driving Without License ChargesDriving without a valid license is one of the most common offenses that police officers charge Illinois drivers with, and potentially one of the most difficult to contest. Asking to see a driver's license is standard procedure for any road stop. If you cannot present a valid license during the stop, you may be arrested and charged. Those convicted may face fines, probation and prison time, depending on the severity of the offense. Some offenders know they are violating the law when they are caught. However, incidents of driving without a license can occur when people are careless.

Suspended or Revoked License

When Illinois suspends or revokes your driver's license, you are allowed to apply for reinstatement after a designated period of time. Because the process can be complex, you must be certain that the reinstatement has finished before you start driving again:

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